Julius Malema: We will never be intimidated by this nonsensical government of Cyril Ramaphosa

The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema has called for the withdrawal of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) from their recent deployment because their presence within communities is intimidating.

During a media briefing on Wednesday, Malema said the military, which was deployed recently in response to the civil unrest that erupted in July, should be called back from its deployment as soon as possible because it is costly and unsustainable.

Malema said there was no need for anymore soldiers to be deployed “on the ground”.

“I think we need political solutions to political problems.

“The problem we are confronted with in South Africa is not insurrection, it’s not a coup, it’s not crimes against the state, it is political differences and discontent by the masses of our people on the ground who are desperately seeking the attention of their leadership and intervention, especially in poverty-stricken areas,” Malema said.

Malema added that he is of the view that “the absence of leadership” is what fuels “this uncertainty that we wake up to all the time”.

Threats of a national shutdown like the one made at the weekend suggesting that a shutdown would occur this past Monday, were proof of a leadership vacuum, Malema said, adding that it was concerning that thinly stretched resources were then wasted on “faceless” instigators who posted on social media about the alleged national shutdown.

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Malema further said the country’s leadership lacks “the mechanisms to deal with this type of uncertainty that we are subjected to”, adding that even if civil unrest were to erupt tomorrow, the SANDF would not be able to deal with it because they do not have the numbers to do so and that the army was not “designed” to address internal political differences.

The EFF leader said the statement issued by the SANDF in response to reports that soldiers in KwaZulu-Natal were starving and threatening to withdraw from their deployment, saying these were fake news, is “nonsensical” because in it the military does acknowledge these issues.

In KwaZulu-Natal, soldiers slept in tents without an adequate supply of food and water, Malema said, adding that these soldiers could not be expected to effectively and efficiently perform their duties.

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Many of the soldiers in the province reached out to the EFF which then contacted the relevant authorities and the issues were addressed, Malema said.

Malema added that soldiers deployed to KwaZulu-Natal had not received their daily and danger allowances, while those in Gauteng did.

“So we found that to be very unacceptable and only when we exposed it did the South African National Defence Force start acting on those matters but at the same time they call them fake news,” Malema said, adding that it is “absolute rubbish” that people, including his party, are being intimidated by the government.

“We will never be intimidated by this nonsensical government of Cyril Ramaphosa which says the truth is fake news,” Malema said.

South Africa is being subjected to militarisation and a police state intent on infringing on the freedom of speech, Malema added.

Malema said a “young man” was recently arrested and jailed for a weekend for being in possession of former president Jacob Zuma’s t-shirt.

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“What do you call that? Since when is it a crime to carry Zuma’s t-shirt? You allow that nonsense it’s going to start with Zuma supporters, it will go to EFF supporters,” Malema said, adding that this needs to immediately come to an end because people have the right to support anyone they choose without being intimidated, as long as it is within the confines of the Constitution.

“Cyril has got no right from stopping anyone from supporting anyone, including Zuma,” Malema said, adding that the former president’s supporters should be protected.

Malema is of the view that media reports on the former president, for example, the recent reports on his request for donations to assist him with his legal fees, serve as a distraction from issues of serious of concern like the high rate of unemployment.

ALSO READ: SA’s unemployment rate hits record high, black women the most vulnerable

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